Working with Other File Formats

Working with Other File Formats

Working with Other File Formats

When you use other file formats supported by Canvas X Draw, you can select options when you open, place, import, save, or export some types of files. The most common file formats and their options are described in this section.

Opening PDF Files

When opening PDF files, you can select your import options in the PDF & PS Import Options dialog box.

Default Color Space

Select RGB or CMYK.

Embedded fonts

Select either Substitute or Convert to paths.

Vector precision

Select from one to three decimal points for precision.

Text merging

Select an option for text tolerance.

  • Disabled: Select this option for no merging, even for text/letters that are exactly next to each other.
  • Precise: Select this option for a very small amount of tolerance, so only letters next to each other will be merged.
  • Tight: Select this option for a higher level of tolerance, (spaces up to approximately 2 points between letters will be ignored).
  • Loose: Select this option for the highest level of tolerance, (meaning “merge whenever it makes sense”).

Text flow

Select a Text flow option to set how Canvas X Draw will handle hard returns in text objects.

  • Disabled: Select this option for no text flow operations.
  • Hard Returns: Select this option to retain the appearance of hard returns existing at the end of sentences in text objects.
  • Continuous Flow: Select this option to ignore existing hard returns at the end of sentences in text objects, and yield a continuous flow of text.

Image merging

Select On to allow Canvas X Draw to merge adjacent image tiles/strips from right to left, layer by layer.

Page selection

Use this option to specify pages for import. The default is [all pages]. Other predefined values are [even pages] and [odd pages], which would import only the even and odd pages, respectively. Other page selections may be specified as a combination of numbers separated with commas; e.g, 2, 5, 8, 13. Consecutive pages may be specified using two numbers separated with a dash; e.g., 6-9. You can even use combinations like 1, 5 - 7, 9, which would import pages 1, 5, 6, 7, and 9. The combination 1, 2, 4, 6- would import pages 1, 2, 4, 6 and all subsequent pages.


Select an option for importing PDF documents that contain layers.

  • Import layers if present: Select this option to import all visible layers in the file. If deselected, all objects from a PDF file are imported to one layer with a default name.
  • Import hidden layers: Select this option to also import hidden layers and all objects that may be on those layers. This would work even if the option above is turned off.

Save these settings as default

Saves the current settings as the default.


Click Default to obtain the default settings.

Saving in PDF Format

When saving in PDF - Acrobat® format, you can select export options in the PDF Options dialog box that appears before the file is saved. (See Exporting as PDF.)

Working with CGM Files

Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) format is a standard for exchanging 2-D graphics and text.

With Canvas X Draw, you can open, modify, and save CGM files created in other applications. CGM file properties, including WebCGM tags are retained, and can be viewed in the Object Properties palette.

Variations and extensions to the “standard” format can create incompatibilities with the Canvas X Draw file filter. When you save a Canvas X Draw document in CGM format, Canvas X Draw makes the following image color mode conversions:

Canvas X Draw image mode

CGM image mode

CMYK, Duotone, Grayscale, and LAB color

RGB cell arrays

Black & White

CGM versions 1 and 2: RGB cell arrays

CGM versions 3 and 4: Black & White


First channel becomes an RGB cell array; other channels ignored

To Export as CGM:

  1. Choose File | Save As.
  2. Select CGM as the file format in the Save As dialog box.
  3. In the CGM Export Options dialog box, set the export options.

CGM Version

Select a version. If your original document was Version 4 (WebCGM), be sure to select this version for export so that any imported data is preserved in the exported file.


Select either CALS or ATA.

VDC Precision

Select either 16 Bit Integer or 32 Bit Fixed.

Scaling Mode

Select either Abstract or Metric.

Beziers As Polygons

If objects contain a fill ink, select this option to preserve it. All beziers will export as polygons. If this option is deselected and the objects are exported as beziers, the fill color is removed.

Export Layer As Picture

If selected, each layer is exported as a separate image. If deselected, the file will be exported as one image.

Export Paint Object

If your file contains paint objects, select this option to export them. Deselect this option if you do not want to export the paint objects.

Bitonal Image Compression

This option is enabled if Version 3 or 4 is selected in the CGM Version menu. Select either Not Compressed, Group 3 (1-dimensional), or Group 4 (2-dimensional).

Canvas X Draw also supports importing CGM and CGM*PIP files. (See Importing CGM Files.)

Using AutoCAD DWG Format

Defined by AutoCAD, DWG is accepted as the standard file format for data interchange by CAD users worldwide. The AutoCAD DWG import filter lets you import native AutoCAD® 2004 files. into Canvas X Draw. This filter fits an AutoCAD drawing into a specified page format.

To Open DWG Files:

  1. Choose File | Open or File | Place and select DWG - AutoCAD format in the directory dialog box.
  2. In the DWG & DXF Import dialog box, enter the following information:

General options

Source Unit

Select the source unit from the menu. The chosen unit will become the document unit.


Drawing Scale

Select a scale from the menu. You can even use Fit to Paper, if necessary. You can also select Custom scale and then enter the exact scale you want in the Drawing scale fields.

Paper Format

Select a paper size from the menu.

Landscape mode

Select this option to change the page orientation.

Dark background

Select this option to use a black paper color. The lines will be white on import. The paper color can be changed after in the Document Setup manager (Layout | Document Setup).

Advanced options

Ignore Line Widths

Select this option to set a hairline stroke for each object.


Explode AutoCAD hatches

Select this option to convert any hatch inks in the original to objects.

Explode AutoCAD blocks

Select this option to convert blocks to objects.

Merge imported layers

Select this option to merge all imported layers into one layer in Canvas X Draw.

Import empty layers

Select this option to import any empty layers in the original file.

Substitute AutoCAD fonts with Arial

Select this option to convert AutoCAD fonts to Arial to allow them to be edited.


Save these settings as default

Saves the current settings as the default.



Click Default to obtain the default settings.

Using Drawing Interchange Format (DXF)

Drawing Interchange Format (DXF) is a format developed by Autodesk, Inc., for exchanging data with AutoCAD and other drawing applications. DXF format provides platform-independent storage of 2D and 3D technical drawings and supports multiple layers. Canvas X Draw supports DXF files containing ASCII data, but does not support DXF files that contain data in binary format.

Opening DXF Files

When opening or placing DXF files, the DWG & DXF Import dialog box opens. The DXF filter fits a DXF file to a specified page format. As with, the DWG import, you should know the Source Unit, Paper Format, and Drawing Scale.

When opening a DXF file, Canvas X Draw makes the following conversions from DXF objects to Canvas X Draw objects:

DXF objects

Canvas X Draw objects



Traces, Solids, and Quadratic polylines


B-spline Polylines

Bézier curve paths


Text objects

Canvas X Draw doesn’t support 3D objects (3D lines and 3D Face objects in DXF files), so these objects are not imported into Canvas X Draw.

Exporting DXF Files

When you save a document in DXF format, Canvas X Draw converts the following Canvas X Draw objects and attributes to DXF objects and attributes:

Canvas X Draw objects/attributes

DXF objects/attributes

Paint object

Not converted

Pen and fill patterns

Solid pens are exported; fills are not exported



Calligraphic pen strokes

Fixed-width pen strokes

Continuous dashes

Dashes start in each segment

Layer names with spaces or non-uppercase characters

Spaces removed and characters become uppercase

Grayed layers

Objects appear in original colors

In the DXF export options dialog box, select the platform format to use. You can also select options for exporting lines and circles.

Using Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) is a file format used to save individual PostScript graphics.

To Open EPS Files:

When you open or place an EPS file, a dialog box prompts you to choose an import method.

Choose an option and click OK.

  • Create EPSF Object: Imports the EPS file as an EPS object. This object can be rotated or scaled, but you can’t select or edit parts of the graphic. Canvas X Draw displays a preview image if the file contains a preview in a supported format.
  • Create Canvas X Draw Objects: Interprets the EPS file’s PostScript code to convert the EPS graphic to editable Canvas X Draw objects. Raster images become Canvas X Draw paint objects and vector objects are maintained as vector objects. Text is imported as one or more text objects. The EPS preview image is not imported. Specialized objects and attributes that have no Canvas X Draw equivalent might not be imported.
  • Place EPSF Reference: Inserts a link to the EPS file and displays its preview image in the Canvas X Draw document. This option is useful for keeping the size of the Canvas X Draw file smaller than if EPS files are imported directly into the document. If you use this option, the EPS file must be available when you print the Canvas X Draw document. If the EPS file changes, the Canvas X Draw document is updated when you print it.

Save as GIF

GIF is the best format for graphics that contain a small number of colors, such as vector art with flat colors. GIF format supports Black & White, Grayscale, and Indexed color images, with 1 to 8 bits of color data for a maximum of 256 colors.

  1. Choose File | Save As.

  2. Select GIF as the file format.
  3. Configure options in the Render Image dialog box.
  4. Select GIF options in the GIF Export Options dialog box as described in the GIF Options table below.

To Export an Image as a GIF:

  1. Select the image.
  2. Choose File | Export Image | GIF.
  3. In the Export Image dialog box, enter a name, tags, and a destination folder for your image, and press Save.
  4. In the GIF Export Options dialog box, configure the settings as described in the GIF Options table below.

GIF Options

Max colors

Use the menu or type in the box to specify the maximum number of colors to be used in the image. Fewer colors can result in a smaller file, but too few colors will degrade an image.


A palette is a set of colors used in an image. To be saved in GIF format, an image can contain no more than 256 colors. If the image contains more colors, the original colors are mapped to the colors in the palette that you choose.

  • Adaptive: Creates a palette that tries to match as close as possible all the colors in the image. This option is the best for preserving the original color range of an image.
  • Web: Uses a standard color palette supported by major Web browsers. The range of colors in the Web palette, however, can cause color shifts in images with many shades of a few colors.
  • Uniform: Uses a palette of colors that are uniformly distributed through the range of possible RGB colors.
  • Exact: Creates a palette from the actual colors in the image, if the image contains fewer than 256 colors. If the image contains more than 256 colors, Canvas X Draw uses the Adaptive option.

To apply a custom or system color palette to a paint object before saving in GIF format, select the paint object and choose Image | Mode | Indexed. In the dialog box, select a palette option and click OK. To modify an Indexed mode paint object, choose Image | Mode | Color Table.

Transparency Channels

  • No transparency
  • Visibility Mask: Retains the image's transparency.


Select this option to merge single pixels into similar colored areas to produce smaller file sizes. However, in images with fine lines or detail, this option can reduce image quality. This option is less effective when Dither is also selected and an image has a limited number of colors.


Select this option if you want Canvas X Draw to use dithering to simulate a greater range of colors. Dithering can make an image appear to have more colors than are in a limited color palette, but it can also make an image appear grainy or noisy. To control the amount of dithering, enter a percentage from 1 to 100 in the text box.


Select this checkbox to save the image as an interlaced GIF. Interlacing divides the image data for faster initial display in Web browsers that support interlaced GIF images; i.e., the image appears progressively on the Web page.

Save as JPEG

To Export or Save as JPEG:

JPEG format provides compression of high resolution, full-color (24- bit) RGB images. JPEG is designed for efficient storage of continuous-tone images such as photographs. JPEG is an abbreviation of Joint Photographic Experts Group, a standards organization that promoted the format.

  1. Choose File | Save As.
  2. Select JPEG as the file format.
  3. Configure options in the Render Image dialog box.
  4. Make your adjustments in the JPEG Export Options dialog box as described in the JPEG Options section below.

To Export an Image as a JPEG:

  1. Select the image.
  2. Choose File | Export Image | JPEG.
  3. In the Export Image dialog box, enter a name, tags, and a destination folder for your image, and press Save.
  4. In the JPEG Export Options dialog box, configure the settings in the JPEG Options listed below.

JPEG Options

  • Quality: Enter a percentage value from 1-100%. Higher Quality values result in less compression and better retention of original image quality.
  • Optimize Size: This option can help produce smaller file sizes. When Optimized is selected, some of the least important color information is discarded to produce more efficient compression.
  • Baseline: Select this option to create a JPEG file that Web browsers will display line by line from the top left to bottom right.
  • Progressive: Select this option to create a JPEG file that Web browsers can display at increasing resolution as the image is loaded.
  • Downsampling: This option can help improve compression. Downsampling reduces the image resolution by averaging color values while preserving luminosity details. Programs displaying the image will “upsample” to the original resolution, so greater compression is achieved without changing the display resolution of the image.
  • Preview: This option displays a preview of the changes made within this dialog prior to exporting.

Importing Photoshop Files

When you open or import a Photoshop file that contains layers, Canvas X Draw imports the file’s layers as separate objects and stacks them in the document on the current layer.

Layers that have transparency are imported with visibility masks. Canvas X Draw creates an alpha channel and a channel mask for a Photoshop layer mask. Canvas X Draw also imports alpha channels.

Using Tag Image File Format (TIFF)

Tag Image File Format is a high resolution, raster image format. Canvas X Draw supports both RGB and CMYK TIFFs. Although TIFF is a common format, many TIFF variations exist. Different resolutions, color systems, previews, and compression schemes make the format flexible, but can cause compatibility problems.

Canvas X Draw can read tiled TIFFs. A tiled TIFF is an image divided into smaller, rectangular portions.

When you save TIFF files, you have various options in the Export TIFF dialog box.

TIFF Compression

Various compression options are available, depending on the mode of the image you are saving.


  • None: Saves an image without compression (the most compatible format).
  • Group 3 and Group 4: Are available to compress images that are in black-and-white mode.
  • LZW: Can be applied to all image modes, except CMYK Color.
  • Deflate: Applies a lossless compression to the image.
  • JPEG: Applies a JPEG lossy compression to the image.
  • Adobe Deflate: Reduces image size but does not affect image quality since it is a lossless compression.


Indicates the default resolution. Enter a value in the Horizontal and Vertical field, if necessary.

To Export as TIFF with Transparency:

Canvas X Draw supports transparency in TIFF images upon import and export. In Canvas X Draw, you can create transparency in images using either a clipping path, channel mask, or visibility mask.

  1. Create the object and apply one of the aforementioned transparency techniques.
  2. If you are using vector objects, the vector objects will be rendered before exporting.

  3. Choose File | Save As or Image | Export.

Saving as SVG and SVGZ

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is a vector graphics language written in Extensible Markup Language (XML). This format enables two-dimensional images to be displayed in XML pages on the Web. With the SVG format, graphics are coded directly into an XML document.

In contrast to JPEG and GIF images on the Web, which are bitmapped and always remain a specified size, SVG images are scalable to the size of the viewing window and will adjust in size and resolution according to the window in which it is displayed.

To Save as SVG:

  1. Choose File | Save As and select SVG or SVGZ as the file format.
  2. Click Save to open the SVG or SVGZ Options dialog box.

General options

  • Create new folder: Organizes files by placing them in a new folder in the specified location. The name that you enter when you are saving a SVG is used for the folder’s name.
  • Put images in subfolder: Creates a subfolder for the image files.
  • Separate pages

Image options

Image Format

  • AutomaticCanvas X Draw chooses the file format for images.
  • JPEG or GIF: Select either option to save all images in one format or the other.

JPEG Quality

Four JPEG quality levels are available:

  • Best: Least compression (100% quality).
  • Fine: 90% quality.
  • Good: 75% quality.
  • Draft: Most compression (50% quality).


Smoothes the edges of rendered vector objects and text objects.

  • Finest: Uses up to 256 shades between each pair of colors. Images with more than 256 colors should be saved in JPEG format to preserve the full range of shades. If necessary, Canvas X Draw uses JPEG format if you select the Automatic Image Format option.
  • Fine: Uses 64 shades per pair of colors. Medium uses 16 shades per color pair. Coarse uses four shades per color pair.
  • Medium
  • Coarse
  • None: No anti-aliasing.

Save these settings as default

If you have never selected the save settings option, clicking Default will switch the dialog box settings to the Canvas X Draw default. Select to save the current settings in the dialog box for all documents. Otherwise, Canvas X Draw saves the settings for the current document only.

Using Text Files

Text is a standard format for files containing only ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) encoded characters.

Text format is available on nearly every computer platform; it’s the “plain vanilla” format, the lowest common denominator for words and numbers. Text files don’t include proprietary or application-specific character or formatting codes. Some punctuation marks, symbols, and all accented letters are non-ASCII characters that display incorrectly when used in text files. Still, ASCII text can be used to transfer text among a variety of applications, including text editors, word processors, and databases.

When you open a text file, Canvas X Draw creates one text object containing the file’s contents, and assigns the default font and text formatting attributes to it. If the file contains more text than can fit in the Canvas X Draw workspace, Canvas X Draw truncates the text object and displays an overflow indicator. You can then flow the truncated text into other columns.

See Also:

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